CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Jerod Evans threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two scores and No. 18 Virginia Tech pulled off the largest comeback in its 124-year history, erasing a 24-point halftime deficit to beat Arkansas 35-24 Thursday night in the Belk Bowl.
After being limited to 180 yards in the first half, Hokies (10-4) took advantage of three of Austin Allen’s interceptions and scored touchdowns on five of their first seven possessions of the second half.
Evans scored on a 4-yard run and threw touchdown strikes to Sam Rogers and Chris Cunningham to cut it to 24-21 in the third quarter. Travon McMillan put the Hokies ahead for good with 12:03 left in the game when he scored on a 6-yard run. Evans sealed the win with an 8-yard touchdown scamper.
Virginia Tech came in averaging 35 points, but the Razorbacks (7-6) set the tone early by turning Evans’ fumble and interception into 10 points to take a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Arkansas extended the lead to 24-0 at halftime and it looked as if it might cruise to an easy victory.
But Evans had other ideas. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 129 yards and two TDs in the second half, helping Justin Fuente became the first coach in school history to win 10 games in his first season.
No. 13 Oklahoma State 38, No. 11 Colorado 8
Mason Rudolph passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns and Oklahoma State’s defense smothered Colorado in Alamo Bowl to give the Cowboys their fifth 10-win season in seven years.
James Washington caught nine passes for 171 yards and a touchdown before leaving in the third quarter with an apparent hand injury. Rudolph and Washington have already announced they will return for their senior seasons, putting the Cowboys (10-3) among the favorites to win the Big 12.
Rudolph even set up Oklahoma State’s first touchdown when he caught a throw-back pass for 24 yards. His 5-yard TD pass to Washington made it 17-0 in the second quarter. Rudolph had scoring throws to Blake Jarwin and Jhajuan Seales in the third to make it 31-0.
No. 25 South Florida 46, South Carolina 39 (OT)
Quinton Flowers ran for three touchdowns and threw for two more to lead South Florida past South Carolina.
South Florida (11-2) squandered a 39-21 lead in the second half, but recovered for its school-record 11th victory. Flowers threw a 25-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime, finding Elkanah Dillon in the end zone.
South Carolina’s overtime drive ended after Jake Bentley was sacked by Mike Love on fourth down. Bentley fumbled and Khalid McGee recovered to end the game.
Flowers, who was selected the game’s Most Valuable Player, completed 23 of 32 passes for 261 yards and ran for 105 yards on 21 carries. — AP